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Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series) - Alaskan Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series)Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

111 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 111
Reviews: 49
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 14.4%
Wants: 8
Gots: 9 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
Doppelbock |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jmdrpi on 08-30-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 111 | Reviews: 49
Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Nose: Malty combined with spicy birch syrup
Brownish garnet amber with a slight chill haze under a 2" finely bubbled light tan head. Persistent. Lacy.
Palate: Birch syrup spice, rich malts, some fruitiness from the syrup, mild hop bitterness on the finish.
Big rich body, average carbonation, creamy and smooth with alcohol warming.

Photo of laituegonflable
3.41/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a vibrant red colour, slight fizz. Head is an off-white ring around the edge, decent lacing. Looks OK, but listless.

Smells like bubblegum. Massive sweetness incongruous with the look - lots of banana, cake batter and apple juice as well. Fruity, light and sweet; needs more grounding for me.

Taste is a bit more toffeed, but otherwise it's all the same notes of the nose, so points for some congruity at least. Banana, bubblegum, some spice notes - nutmeg and maybe some clove - and a nice vanilla note at the back, which sort of assimilates all the others into a bigger whole at the back. Slight metallic edge, but I still think it's a bit sickly sweet at the start. Decent, but really into this.

Fairly smooth with a proteinous body. Bit of spice at the back; quite nice.

Interesting beer, and a well-constructed palate. Not to my taste at all, sadly, but I can see others really enjoying this.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a red-orange amber with active carbonation. One finger fine light tan head with good retention and lacing. Looks nice. Aroma of sweet malt and a hint of birch beer. Flavor is sweet and caramel malt, toffee with a rather dry birch syrup finish. Low hop levels. Medium bodied with a bit of creaminess. A interesting, but low key, take on a doppelbock. The birch syrup counteracts the malt flavors somewhat, so it seems like it could use a bit more malt flavor as a doppelbock. Still interesting and enjoyable to drink. (Reviewed in 2012, moved here from a duplicate listing in the archive section, since this seems to be the main listing).

Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A- A deep amber colour, which seemed to fluctuate a little with ruby towards the center and murky brown towards the edges.

S- Delightful, huge berry notes with a massively appetizing, malty bouquet. The best thing about this beer!

T- Sweet with a tart maltiness. Taste of rasberries and cherries. Pretty much what you'd hope for from a doppelbock with added syrup.

M- Fairly low carbonation which I liked. Slightly cloying and thin, but not to the extent that it detracted too much from the overall experience.

O- I would definitely have this again based purely on the beer, although it was quite pricey at $8. Would have only given it a 4, but it disguised the relatively high ABV of 8.5% so nicely that I had to bump it up a notch. I could drink it all day, and at that ABV, that's impressive.

Photo of vette2006c5r
2/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.75

Birch Bock pours a hazy brownish color wit ha very small head. Their are some sweet birch syrup like aromas, very sugary, and a bit vinegary. The taste has some notes of the birch syrup, and a dull cheap malty taste, strange sweetness to it. Nicely carbonated and full flavor. Overall a very strange beer. Taste like a cheap beer with some log cabin syrup added.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.66/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured a thin head on a cloudy light brown colored body.
The aroma is dry wood and dark malt. Interesting.
The taste is wonderful. It's fairly sweet overall, but less "annoying sweet" than most doppelbocks. There's definitely a syrup flavor with a background of dry malt sweetness.
The texture is slightly sticky with moderate carbonation.
Well worth trying.

Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.1/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In my opinion, the beers in the Pilot Series are some of the best work from Alaskan. The taste is general bold and lacks the bothersome oily texture that I can not overlook in their more noted brews.

Poured into a glass, the beer was a murky brown with variation in the shades of brown. The aroma was the expected malty doppelbock type aroma. In fairness, I am not exactly what birch syrup is supposed to taste like, never having had it. I can only assume it is similar to maple syrup. In the initial taste, one detects the sweet malt as well as a certain syrupy sweetness with hints of dark fruit. There was a certain smokiness in the taste, but it was not overpowering. The thickness reminded me a little more of a barleywine than a doppelbock, but this was not a big detractor for me. In the aftertaste, one will notice the maltiness continues with a twang of sourness. The taste on this doppelbock is well developed and nicely rounded. I would certainly do this one again.

Photo of CHADMC3
3.87/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a toffee colored body beneath the thinner off white head which quickly dissolves to leave little lacing behind.

Sweet aromas of birch syrup and brown sugar and hints of fig float from the glass. The aromas are sweet and candy like with typical doppelbock malty sweetness as well.

The flavors are similar featuring the birch maple and brown sugar sweetness the aroma has with hints of earthiness.

The body is fuller with medium carbonation and a nice sherry like, dryer finish.

This is a pretty nice doppelbock, clearly even a bit sweeter with the addition of the birch maple syrup than others but you can certainly appreciate the Alaskan twist.

Photo of jdkitchi
3.67/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired this for $6.99 at Discount. Poured reddish brown color into a snifter from the 22 oz bomber bottle. There was a small head that kept some lacing.

Smells of sweet dark malts and a little woody. The taste is very sweet mostly malts up front, some earthy character, slight hop balance and alcohol, some lingering sweet syrup in the finish. There is a medium mouth feel and low carbonation.

This is a pretty good Dopple. It 's a little different, a little cloying but pretty enjoyable too. I would have this again if I ran across it.

Photo of Etan
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a stout glass

A: Pours a wood amber-brown with a small light tan head.

S: Sweet, fruity malt - grapes, raisins, prunes, molasses, maple.

T: Maple, figs, brown sugar, caramel, brown bread, light birch spice.

M: Medium-bodied with light carbonation.

O: This was better than I was expecting. The birch is pretty mellow. The beer is a bit sweet, but not so much as to ruin the beer. Pretty good.

Photo of drinkyourcraft
3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just a note to any readers - I have a slight cold and my taste and smell is a bit off.

Pours a good amber copper color with a good foamy head.

Taste is very malty and "maple-syrupy?" but nothing overwhelming.

Overall a solid doppelbock, tastes a lot like a homebrew I had recently.

Recommend - yes, share

Photo of FightingEntropy
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of Alaskan Birch Bock based on a sample at the St. Paul Summer Fest a few weeks ago. I have an affinity for "tree" beers after helping make a spruce ale with the MN Home Brewers at the first Teach a Friend to Homebrew day in 2005. The experience helped me get into homebrewing more, so "tree" beers have an odd emotional appeal to me.

Classic doppelbock color: deep copper to ruby. Dirty white head falls quickly over alcohol hotness and deep malt with a clear birch nose. Dark fruits and malt are smoothed by a slick oiliness over, what I assume, is a birch spicy note since it's low on hops. Very fun to drink.

Not a knock-your-socks off beer, but a testament to the creativity of the beer world. I like it and would drink it again.

Photo of phishsihq
3.42/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Birch Bock, a dopplebock brewed with Alaskan birch syrup. The brew pours a beautiful mahogany color, and it is caped with a thin, off-white head that provides spotty lace. Aromas of dark fruit and sweet malt hint at the flavors to come, and a little bit of sweetness pokes through as well. Malt forward, Birch Bock showcases the addition of birch syrup in the sweet finish, with a touch of alcohol lingering too. Medium-light in body, this dopplebock features a lower-level of carbonation. If you have access to ANY Alaskan Brewing Company's beers, do yourself a favor and buy them!

Photo of Gavage
3.52/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a light brown color with a short wispy head that falls apart quickly.

Smell: sweet malt and brown sugar is most noticeable by the nose.

Taste: very sweet malt profile, as brown sugar and ripe dark fruits are up front. Bitterness is mild and alcohol is mildly noticeable too.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp up front, smoother argue finish. The sweetness lingers on the tongue for a while.

Overall: I expected a little more from this beer, as it just was not as satisfying as I expected. One bomber bottle was more than enough for a session.

Photo of woemad
3.55/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber purchased a while back at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $8.99. "081112" was stamped on the label, but it's not clear if that's when it was bottled or when it's best by. Considering the style and abv, I'm not too worried.

Poured a reddish amber color with a decent sized off-white head. Said head didn't stay large for long, but never entirely faded away.

Big, boozy scent grabbed the attention at first. There was also some brown sugar-like notes. There's a bit of a nutty scent in the background, as well.

Similar to the nose in that there's a boozy, brown sugary and nutty taste, but there's also a raisiny, dark fruit flavor lurking in the background, providing a little depth, but not enough for this to taste like a leading contender in the doppelbock category.

Body is somewhere between medium and full, with a slightly sticky mouthfeel.

This is a decent attempt at a doppelbock, but it falls short when it comes to the style's general complexity. If this had a little more depth, there'd be more fours in this review.

Photo of mltobin
3.62/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at Roman`s in WI.

Appearance is dark copper with one finger head that is off-white in color. Its` nose has brown sugar, nuts and malts. For the taste of this doppelbock, I note raisins, caramel, some more of the nuts. Mouthfeel is medium with a slightly sticky finish. All in all, a pretty good beer, but nothing worth seeking out imo.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.03/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA. Brought back to Australia and shared with @tobeerornottobe and @Laituegonflable.

Pours a lovely clear and bright reddish umber hue, with a mild creamy beige head of fine bubbles. Minimal lacing, but the body is very solid. Body is very solid, and leaves fine carbonation when tilted. Very good looking beer.

Nose is smooth and round, with a bite of slightly medicinal astringency, which cuts through it and prevents it from being unanimously sweet. Sweet banana bread characters, hints of cinnamon bun and a wafty, slightly boozy phenolic note. It's very pleasant.

Taste is, ooh, surprising. I expected that phenolic or biting astringency to be very prominent, but instead, we get a truly sweet, syrupy beer, that doesn't ever get too heavy or overpowering. Mild maple syrup notes, along with a slight piney fragrance (is this birch? I wouldn't know). Feel is clear and smooth, almost glassy as it goes down.

Overall, good stuff: the birch syrup, I think, really comes through and gives an interesting twist, and the base beer is solid. Overall, I'm pretty happy with this.

Photo of sprucetip
3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Active, mahogany, thin tan head with little retention and no lacing. Good looker for what it's worth.

Malty sweet, toffee, a bit of dark fruit, and some warm boozy esters. Not especially deep, complex, or strong. But pleasant. ... Toward the very end of the sample it comes together better, but I still don't feel right bumping up to a 4. 3.75 anyone?? You can do 3.75 on "hads."

A little bit boozy and a little bit bitter, but sweet and malty is the primary character of the flavor here. I get some malty sweet and toasted flavors, embellished by toffee and dark fruit. But it's not quite as good as that might sound. The synergy of those elements isn't great. It tastes good, but not great.

Good carbonation, medium full body, moderately viscous, fairly strong warming, and some gentle bitterness in the finish.

Like many Alaskan Brewing beers, it's pretty good but not nearly amazing. I'd be proud of it if I made it, but would also be trying to figure out what I could do differently or better next time. I wouldn't recommend trading for it or going to great efforts to get it. And at $8.50 a bomber, I would maybe have one a year or so, if that. If I'm in the mood for a doppelbock, and I can get Celebrator, there is no question or discussion. That said, I do appreciate the attempt. But I keep wondering why Alaskan so often comes up short with these special releases. It almost seems like they purposefully dumb them down? I know they can make truly awesome beers (e.g. Smoked Porter, Baltic Porter, Barleywine), but so many of these special Pilot Series beers wind up being somewhat disappointing. Not bad, of course, but not sending me hustling back to the store for more before it's gone.

Photo of DCon
4.22/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on-tap @ the Beer Shoppe in Yakima, WA for $4 (special). Tapped from a Non-Labeled Tap Handle into a 16oz Beer Shoppe Pint Glass. Saw this one in a 22oz bottle at the shop so decided to enjoy on-tap instead.

Aroma- Tons of sugar and maple sugar hit the nose first. The sweetest malt you can find as well. Strong and enjoyed it!

Appearance- Received with no head... Tapping issues? Deep amber/light brown body with decent clarity. Leaves a few suds behind.

Flavor- Burnt sugar and caramel comes around very rich and dominant. Awesome! Malty and has a light bitterness at the finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium Bodied, Medium Carbonation, Sweet, Smooth, and a finish like a dessert beer.

Overall Impression- Wow! Not too traditional for the style but enjoyed GREATLY! Reminded me of an aged Thomas Hardy's Ale. This is a great compliment to this beer! Would love to get a bottle of this but have many others to drink first. Maybe next year. Highly recommend!

Photo of inlimbo77
3.3/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle. Best by Date: 8/11/12. Poured into Philly Beer Scene chalice.

A: Hazy amber orange color. Quarter finger of off white head that faded quickly into an off white ring around the edges. Carbonation appears to be there though as I see some tiny bubbles. Some alcohol feet are present and some lacing sheets.

S: Lots of sweet malt goodness. Maybe like a dark cherry underneath it all. But lots of candied sugar sweetness. Some caramel maybe.

T: No hop presents on the tip of the tongue, aside from a slight prickle. Carbonation is there

M: Medium bodied. Almost DIPA like, but UNFRESH DIPA mouthfeel.

Photo of yamar68
3.67/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My palate is freshly raped by a glass of Hop Stoopid (sorry).

Poured from 22oz bomber to pint glass:

Nice looking bock. Looking rather still.

The nose certainly boasts some caramely birch syrup - such a unique ingredient and surprisingly distinguishable from other tree syrups. Nice. A bit of leather and toffee here as well.

A lot of the same notes tend to surface on the tongue with the addition of a pretty distinct mineral type finish. Smells better than it tastes.

The after taste detracts from the feel but the consistency is good.

I always love trying beers that utilize birch syrup.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.94/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a mug.

3.0 A: Clear orange amber color. One finger of frothy beige head. Retention is lacking, but it's possible that that's due to the birch syrup. No lacing.

4.0 S: Wow, the birch really comes through in this. The strongest aroma is maple nut candies, but with birch instead of maple. There's something else that's really distinct, but I just can't figure out what it is right now. Good bit of toffee with some caramel underneath. An almost tanginess that could come from the syrup or the malts. Light booziness. Candied date fruitiness.

4.0 T: Again lots of birch, toffee, and sugariness. Candied date, currants, and plum fruitiness. Not as tangy as the nose, but there's still a little bit of it. It tastes like it smells, but it's a bit smoother actually. Booze is well hidden.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation that is almost spritzy. Good here. Super smooth.

4.0 D: Of the one other birch related beer I've had, this is by far the best. Done very well, tasty, and great on the palate.

Photo of snaotheus
3.06/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle split into a pair of large snifter

Pours a pretty ruby color with very little head and lots of carbonation. Smell is alcohol and syrup.

Taste is unexplainably bland. Alcohol is plenty present, syrup is there, there is a little bit of a woody flavor, something about it reminds me of sweet tea.

Mouthfeel is sticky. Overall, too sweet and bland to be any more than average for me.

Photo of TexIndy
3.87/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass. No dating info on the bottle but the website says it's a March 2012 release. It was a rich red-amber color with few carb streams. It had almost no head when poured and what was there quickly evaporated. No lacing.

The aroma is strong on birch syrup and caramel malt. A little booze maybe. Not bad but man it's sweet. The taste closely follows the aroma and again is very sweet. It's dances over the cloying line then comes back. Not getting any of the other traditional doppelbock aromas or tastes but this is supposed to be birch syrup heavy so can't knock it much. Medium to heavy mouthfeel with good sweet aftertaste but lacking in carbonation.

Overall, a good speciality doppelbock that I do recommend if you can easily get. While Alaskan is now in Texas this isn't one of the beers that they offer here yet. Got from Hoss in a care package. Rotation - glad I tried it but wouldn't seek out again. But would try on-tap. [N;O]

Photo of Bitterbill
3.48/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$7.35 for the 22oz bottle best by 081112.

A nice clear amber colour, great 2 finger head of stubborn foam, does very well with the lacing.

It smells very malty..maple syrup like but it's birch syrup. Worthy for the style and very inviting.

Really sweet up front from the birch syrup, slightly earthy, more sweetness, caramel malt kind of way, zero bitterness. Tasty but just a tad too sweet for my personal preferences. There's also a big bite from the alcohol that slows things down.

A nice mouthfeel here but again, the alcohol is too up front and given how sweet the overall taste is, it's a chore to drink.

A good effort from the brewery but I'd call it a slight miss according to my palate.

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Alaskan Birch Bock (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 111 ratings.